Of course with a highly recognizable brand also comes some new risks. Specifically – if everything you do is building your reputation, then every time you drop the ball this can also harm your reputation. This is how you can end up tainting your brand and having a bad reputation for your brand is pretty much toxic to your profits.
Think about Skoda for instance. At one point, this car manufacturing company had such a bad reputation that their cars became the butt of jokes. They were thought of as unappealing, unreliable and uncool. Thus, even someone who would otherwise have been happy with specific cars they were selling, would be unlikely to want to do business with them simply because of the stigma they carried.
So what do you do if your brand has been hurt by bad reviews, by the competition or by your own mistakes?
One option is reputation management, much of which is achieved through SEO. This means effectively using search engine optimization to improve the information that becomes available when someone searches for your business.
If your last few products or your recent services haven’t been up to your usual standard, then this might result in some bad reviews appearing prominently in the search engine results. This in turn means that the first things people find about you will potentially be negative when they look for your brand online.
Getting your own website to be the first result when searching for your business then is obviously one way you can begin to combat this. At the same time, you can work to increase the visibility of the positive reviews that are out there to help them rise above the negative ones.
Reputation management also means other things. For example, you need to ensure that you are generating those positive reviews which you can do simply by asking your customers and visitors to. Another option is to offer incentives for good reviews – such as discounts. A good strategy on social media is to say that you will write X post or provide X product but only if you receive a certain number of likes or reviews.
It’s also important to make sure you’re seen to respond to negative reviews in a polite and effective manner. Express your concern that your customer was not happy with the product or service they received (even if you don’t really feel that way!) and then offer to make amends in some way or other. This is reassuring for other potential customers, it demonstrates that you care and if you can solve the problem for the customer then they may even alter their review and make it more positive.
If things have really gone south, then sometimes the only remaining option will be to completely rebrand yourself and to start the process again from scratch. This will mean creating a new logo, changing the design of your website and potentially even beginning an entirely new marketing campaign.
A rebrand can also be a useful as a way to gain publicity. If your brand is relatively recognizable, then changing your name will be interesting to the general public and if you issue a press release you might get coverage this way.
Note though that rebrands will often confuse customers and can sometimes go wrong. Make sure that you do your research before setting out and are sensitive in the way you rebrand yourself. Note as well that you will also lose a lot of your previous hard work when you remarket yourself under a different name or logo – a lot of your prospective audience won’t yet associate your new logo with your business and thus you’ll need to work to build that recognition again.
There’s also a slight stigma surrounding any rebranding as the question will always be: why did they feel the need to change their image so drastically? Make sure that you communicate clearly why you are rebranding and paint it in a positive light. I.e. you’re moving with the times, not you’re trying to shake those rumors that you beat your employees.
The outsourcing website oDesk recently rebranded itself as Upwork which has been relatively successful so far:
Coco Pops meanwhile changed their branding to Choco Krispies at one point which was less successful:
In fact, they actually ended up changing the name back though on the positive side they did get a lot of publicity over that.
So that’s it, the essentials of creating, building and managing your brand! You should now understand the importance of having a strong brand, know how to choose a company name and create a logo and have a plan in place for promoting your business/website and building trust.
There’s a lot to take on board there, so just to recap let’s go over some of the key points. Follow these in order and you should be well on your way to strengthening your brand and creating authority in your niche or industry.
Identify Your Goals and Mission Statement
You should have an idea of the business model you’re going to be using and of the niche you’re going to be in. Next then you need to identify what makes you different and what your overarching goals are. This will then serve as your mission statement which will provide your value proposition and USP and help you to create your brand.
Choose a Name
The next step is to choose a company name and buy a domain name. Make sure the name is descriptive, original and memorable and think about how this will affect your SEO down the line.
Create a Logo
Next you should create your logo. This will need to be created as a vector image to allow for editing. Create a moodboard to get ideas and try combining elements that speak to your products, niche and company name. Consider protecting your brand with a patent.
Create Your Other Materials
Your goal now is to reinforce your branding at every possible opportunity. This means creating business cards, a web design and much more all utilizing the same logo and the same colors to reinforce your brand further. Consider using your own name, face and personality as part of your marketing plan.
Make sure you post to your blog regularly with high quality content. This is how you can use content marketing to establish yourself as a trust worthy resource.
At the same time, if you sell or recommend products or services, make sure that they are always high quality as well. This is what will create the association between your brand and the idea of quality and reliability – which is your main aim.
Create Brand Loyalty
Engage with your readers/customers, create a loyalty scheme and collect e-mails. This way you can turn your one-time customers into repeat buyers and those repeat buyers into hardened fans.
With content marketing, SEO, social media, press releases and advertising – make sure that people see your brand regularly so that they are more likely to remember it and more likely to look for you in future.
Manage Your Brand
Make sure that you keep an eye on reviews, respond to any negative comments and consider rebranding if necessary. If you release new products, think about how you will brand those too and how they’ll tie into your overall branding strategy.
And there you have it! So just keep providing value under an easily identifiable logo and company and you’ll find that you build a reputation for yourself that drives more traffic to your site and more business to your company.